Parking spaces in Cape May are difficult to find.
There are 121 metered parking spaces east of Philadelphia Avenue where parking is free after 5:00 PM during the summer months.
“No one wants to walk too far if parking is inconvenient,” Tim Walsh a member of the City’s Parking Advisory Committee, said at a meeting on Monday, Jan. 13th when the committee discussed ways to better inform the public of the free parking.
Since the City’s announcement of the Jitney service renewal, the committee has been exploring ways to improve signage and information about the Jitney.
“Signage is important to point people to free parking, people like free,” Bob Elwell a committee member added.
Co-chair of the committee Bonnie Cassells indicated that including City Marketing Director, Laurie Taylor and Doreen Talley of the Chamber of Commerce were important elements to the wayfinding plan.
The committee which is chaired by Bob Lemondella was created to study parking and traffic flow in the city. In 2019 the Parking Advisory Committee came up with a plan called performance parking which placed a premium price on more desired parking. The additional $1.00 dollar charged in performance parking funded the free Jitney service in 2019.
With the return of the Jitney and the desire for improved signage, Assistant City Manager Jerry Inderwies Jr. did not want to waste time getting the signs created. “Can we paint the meter heads yellow?” asked co-chair Cassells. Other options such as painting the bulkhead where the meters sit or stenciling the street were considered.
The main discussion centered around making the traffic flow as convenient and informed as possible. Convincing people that free parking is available was the main goal.
“I have a client who is interested in booking a rental for two weeks as long as it is near a hopping-on point on the Jitney route,” said Deputy Mayor Patricia Hendricks, council liaison to the committee who is also a real estate agent.
“New parking kiosks are on order for along the Washington Street Mall,” reported Inderwies. “They need to be upgraded to be compatible with 5G wireless networks.
New parking lot possible off Elmira
The committee is also exploring the city-owned property north of Elmira Street to see if it would be suitable for the creation of a parking area to accommodate 45-54 parking spaces. The lot, which has egress onto Elmira street sits south of the NJ Transit Corporation railroad tracks.
Finding additional parking spaces in Cape May, free or metered would be a problem solver.
If approved the new parking lot off Emira could be employee parking, a metered lot or a municipal lot. A soil erosion control plan would have to be studied. The committee without a quorum discussed making a formal proposal to City Council to further explore the feasibility of creating the new parking spaces on the property.
The next scheduled meeting of the committee is January 27th at 3:00 PM at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.